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PhD Candidate at Griffith University, mummy, wife, teacher, social media enthusiast, avid reader

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Outlining a methodology and #tweetingmythesis

Where I road test outlining a chapter before writing the paragraphs. The following is a little bit auto-ethnographic and a little bit meta-cognitive.

  1. On 3 July, I began writing the first draft of my thesis. My aim is to complete the draft by Christmas. This gives me a very tight schedule so I need to micro manage my time. To see how I use my time, I decided to embrace my addiction to Twitter rather than turn off my smart phone. My writing first day, I used the hash tag #tweetingmythesis to see how I used my time. Since then I have embraced the hash tag and have decided to road test some other academic writing techniques #acwri, as requested in the comments of my previous post. 
  2. Outlining is an age old approach to beginning writing. I have been teaching the technique for many years in my job as a Modern History teacher.  
  3. #Tweetingmythesis again today. Trying some outlining to get started on my methodology section #phdchat #acwri #groundwork
  4. I Googled around for some methodology outlining techniques. I watched some YouTube lectures and read some blogs. Nothing was really making sense. I decided to reach back into my long gone English teaching career and try deconstructing a methodology from a thesis that used my research approach, phenomenography.
  5. Found a thesis that used phenomenography. Deconstructing the chapter to write my outline #phdchat #acwri #Tweetingmythesis
  6. On my first reading, I wrote down paragraph by paragraph the content I thought the methodology chapter was trying to communicate. I didn't worry that my method was different. I just wanted to develop a basic outline.
  7. Finished deconstructing the chapter. Thesis does not use same method. Reread and take notes #Tweetingmythesis #phdchat#acwri
  8. On the second reading, I recorded the literature referenced in the model thesis. The process of connecting my outline back to the model to extract the references, highlighted how lazy I had been in the initial deconstruction.  
  9. Found that my first reading and deconstruction of the methodology chapter was lazy. Reread means tidying up #Tweetingmythesis
  10. As I was tidying up my first attempt at a methodology outline, I began to make connection to my own study. I created a table. I work better with tables.
  11. Have constructed a table now in reread of my outline. Column 1: outline, column 2: notes, column 3: lit #tweetingmythesis #acwri#phdchat
  12. Just added another column. Separation of sections eg. Intro, justification of meth-ogy etc #tweetingmythesis #acwri #phdchat#nowinlandscape
  13. Day two, the "How to write a methodology" jigsaw began to fall into place. I began to see the model I was reading had an argument. realise the methodology is not just a description but also a justification and these two aspects need to be linked. There are some things I KNOW in my head from all the textbooks but until I saw it in practice I did not UNDERSTAND. I think this is the most important reason to read several theses before and while you are writing your own.
  14. Beginning to click. Outlining my methodology. Reading a thesis#tweetingmythesis #acwri #phdchat
  15. In the end, I read the model methodology chapter four times with four different intentions: first, to acquire an overview; second, to connect the literature; third, to connect to my study; and fourth, to observe how the justification developed. Of course, the whole process was symbiotic but the above four readings show how my understanding of a methodology deepened with each reading. Very phenomenographic!
  16. Outline of methodology chapter written. Phew #bigtask. 3 readings of a thesis. Each read adding depth #tweetingmythesis#timeforparagraphs
  17. Before writing my paragraphs there were a few more tasks. I compared my library to that I extracted from the model methodology. I created a new, better organised EndNote library so I can cite while I write.
  18. I mentioned earlier that I like working in tables. I have taken this to the extreme and added a merged row beneath each point on my outline. 
  19. Inserting rows to my outline table. Writing a paragraph after each point. Easier to insert piecemeal as I read #tweetingmythesis#phdchat
  20. I know my outline won't exactly match that in the model but there are many elements which are comparable -- the methodologies match for one. Now, as I revisit the literature, I know basically what needs to be covered, how brief is acceptable and an idea of where in the chapter something could be located. 
  21. The ideas! Need to develop a system for keeping the discussion out of the methodology #tweetingmythesis #phdchat #acwri
  22. This week was a good one for road testing the outlining process because I didn't have two whole days I could dedicate to writing prose. I could dip in and out of my PhD. Each time I returned to my thesis I had to reread what I had completed previously. I think, while frustrating, this can be valuable, especially when trying to get to the real depth of meaning behind the model being deconstructed.
  23. The deafening silence from #tweetingmythesis is because I was teaching. Be back tomorrow.
  24. The next step in working towards my Christmas deadline is to revisit the methodological literature, read two or three more models and draft the methodology chapter. 
  25. @nomynjb “@OfficialSanta: ONLY 151 SLEEPS TO CHRISTMAS#ChristmasCountdown ” Our gifts are delivered by the Christkind. ;/
  26. If you would like me to road test another #acwri process. Please tweet or comment me. I like experimenting with techniques and processes.

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